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In Is a 40GB SSD practical to use for ' / ' Jorge describes how he symlinks directories in his /home that would benefit from being on an SSD. The directories he names are

  • ~/.cache
  • ~/.config
  • ~/.gconf

I know how to make the symlinks. What I am asking for is if this is a good list of directories in /home that benefits from being on an SSD? I figure that good items on such a list are files that are read often. The reason for asking this is that I cannot fit all of /home on the SSD but I still want to get as much performance out of the SSD as possible.

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The write thing is a myth on modern SSDs, Intel's are rated for like 57 straight years of writing or something sick like that. –  Jorge Castro Jul 8 '11 at 12:31
    
@JorgeCastro Could you please provide a link? –  N.N. Jul 8 '11 at 12:36
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Not handy, somewhere in here, the SSD guides are top notch - anandtech.com/tag/storage –  Jorge Castro Jul 8 '11 at 12:44

4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Here's a list of other things that might be useful (I've made this a wiki post so anyone can add to it):

  • .cache - temporty cache files for browsers and other programs.
  • .config - config files for programs
  • .gconfd abd .gconf - GNOME configuration files
  • .gegl-0.0 – file for GIMP
  • .gimp-2.6 – files for GIMP
  • .gnome2 – used by some GNOME 2 applications
  • .gvfs – data folder for the GNOME virtual filesystem
  • .local – user specific data. You will lose the Nautilus Trash functionality if this directory is put on a different partition.
  • .macromedia – files for flash
  • .mozilla – where all your Mozilla Firefox cache is
  • .thumbnails – thumbnails for pictures, videos, etc (used by Nautilus)
  • .thunderbird – where all your Mozilla Thunderbird cache is
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Be careful with .local. Nautilus won't like having it on a different partition and you'll lose the Trash feature. –  Richard Ayotte Mar 8 '12 at 21:15

I would put everything on the SSD, provided that it's a modern SSD (i.e. fast and doesn't suffer from poor write-leveling), and provided that everything fits.

The latency improvement is really something.

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What would you do if some things don't fit? In my case I've got music and videos that won't fit. –  N.N. Jul 8 '11 at 12:40
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@NN You should mention that in the question that you don't have room to fit everything, then it'll be clear why you only want to symlink certain things. –  Jorge Castro Jul 8 '11 at 14:19
    
@JorgeCastro I agree. Done! –  N.N. Jul 8 '11 at 14:30
    
If have / and /home on the SSD, and then linked the big directories to a directory on the harddisk. Music, Videos, Downloads etc. –  elmicha Jul 8 '11 at 19:37
    
Yeah, videos/music that don't fit ought to go to a large rotational HDD. My point is that SSDs excel at situations where you have large numbers of small files, because of incredibly fast seeks. And /home tends to have thousands of small files in all those dotted directories. –  Marius Gedminas Jul 19 '11 at 19:49

I would just have the root directory (/) as SSD. Keep /home on a HDD (since in my experience, it can take -loads- of room). Also the /boot on the SSD, if you are going to make separate partitions. That way you have the loading time benefits of SSD. That's my opinion.

if you really wanted to use the SSD for home, I would put the configuration folders on there (the /.whatever) folders, to speed up configuration loading. It wouldn't be as fast as loading the entire program from SSD, but it's an improvement nonetheless. I don't know how to map certain elements of /home to the SSD however, but the mount command comes to mind

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I'm afraid that this is not an answer to the question. The question is what benefits from being on an SSD in /home? –  N.N. Jul 8 '11 at 14:19
    
Oops sorry, got carried away. Edited it for relevance :) –  Conor Rynne Jul 8 '11 at 14:31
    
Are you thinking of any configuration files in particular? The size of all hidden directories in my /home is 297 GB. The size of all hidden directories in my /home except for the hidden directory links .ecryptfs and .Private is 1 GB. –  N.N. Jul 8 '11 at 14:40
    
in most cases yes, although given the size of your configuration files (are all your hidden files configuration ones??) I would limit it to the programs you use most, and the .gnome* ones, as well as .config and .cache as you would probably see the most effect from these –  Conor Rynne Jul 8 '11 at 15:03

What I would advise, is have everything in one big / partition on the SSD (including your home directories), and then, if the SSD is not big enough for all your large files, mount your HDD separately as, say, /media/BigHDD or whatever, and put your large files there.

That way, all your dotfiles (files and directories beginning with a dot in your home directory) will be on the SSD, including new ones that software might create. It is often these dotfiles (particularly .cache) that are frequently read and written to and therefore would benefit from SSD the most. But that isn't to say other files and directories wouldn't also benefit.

If your SSD space is not particularly limited, there is no reason to keep anything off of it. Have everything on it. Then, if you need to store lots of large files, such as for video editing, photography, your music collection, etc and these don't fit on there, then have a separately mounted drive for these.

I used to use an Asus EeePC 900. That thing had a 4GB primary SSD. That is limited space, requiring careful partitioning. A 40GB SSD is not limited.

If I had to write a list of what things would most benefit from being on an SSD I'd put them in this order.

  1. ~/.cache - the cache area of your home directory, where software like browsers keep their cache.

  2. /usr and /lib - just to improve start-up time of applications, and boot time.

  3. /etc - some software needs to read a lot of files in here when it starts.

  4. /tmp - some software uses this for temporary storage, but less so for user software.

  5. /var - system software sometimes stores temporary or frequently changing files here.

  6. ~/.config - config files for your user software and account.

As you can see, it's somewhat spread out over the drive.

It may be more useful to see a list of what doesn't benefit so much from being on an SSD:

  1. Media files, like music and videos.

  2. Any other large documents, like the original images if you do photography.

  3. Backups or large archives (eg, of other systems)

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